These are the classic glazed little cakes that make you feel like you’re a child again when you eat them – so dainty & pretty.
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For the cake, preheat the oven to 190c. Line a 25-x-38cm jelly roll pan or baking tray with sides with baking paper.
Use a box grater to grate the marzipan into pieces (this will make it easier to blend into the cake batter).
In a large mixing bowl with beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and grated marzipan together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the flour and mix until blended.
Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan to level and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is a rich golden brown. Cool the cake completely in the pan.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the fondant. Place the water in a small saucepot and sprinkle the agar agar powder over, stirring in. Let this sit for 5 minutes and then heat on medium-low heat, stirring gently until the agar agar melts in.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the corn syrup, shortening and glycerin and stir until the shortening has melted. Have 4 ½ cups (585 g) of icing sugar sifted in a large bowl and pour in the liquid.
Stir the mixture until it becomes too difficult, adding more sifted icing sugar as needed, until the fondant comes together. Then turn the fondant onto the counter dusted with icing sugar and knead it until it is smooth. Add any flavouring your wish at this point. Wrap the fondant very well in plastic wrap (and a re-sealable bag or airtight container) until ready to use.
To ready the cake for dipping, run a knife around the inside edge of the baking tray to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a cutting board. Peel away the parchment and cut the cake in half.
Stir the raspberry jam to soften in and spread all but 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of it on one half of the cake portions and top it with the second. Spread the remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of jam in a sheer layer on top of the cake.
On a work surface dusted with icing sugar, cut the rolling fondant in half and roll it to just under ¼-inch (6 mm) thick in a rectangle the same size as the cake. Place this on top of the cake and trim away the edges (it should only cover the top). Wrap the cake and freeze it for an hour or until ready to cover with the pouring fondant.
Unwrap the cake and place it on a cutting board. Using a 1 ½-inch round or square cookie cutter (round petits fours are easier to coat than square) cut out individual cakes and place then on a cooling rack over a clean baking tray.
To prepare the pouring fondant, place the sifted icing sugar in a large metal bowl and have a pot with an inch of barely simmering water. In separate bowl, whisk the hot water, corn syrup and glycerin and add this to the icing sugar, stirring until fluid. Check the temperature with an instant read thermometer – if it is less than 41–43C then place the fondant on the water bath and whisk until it reaches this temperature range. Do not let it get warmer than 43C or this will create a finish to the fondant that is matte and possibly grainy. If the fondant is too thick at the desired temperature, you can add a little water, but just a few droplets at a time and fully whisking it in. If the fondant cools too much while pouring, re-heat it to within the desired temperature range.
You will want to whisk the fondant in the bowl often to keep it from setting, and you have 2 options for coating the petits fours:
Pouring – using a ladle, pour the fondant over each little cake one at a time, checking that all sides are completely covered. And excess will run off the petits fours and onto the baking tray – you can scrape this back into the bowl and re-melt it for use a second time.
Dipping – using large tweezers or truffle forks, immerse the little cake upside down into the fondant and carefully lift up, ensuring that all sides are covered (you can’t double dip) and leaving the bottom exposed. Carefully turn the cake upright and place it on the cooling rack to set.
If decorating the petits fours with dragees set them on top very soon after covering with fondant, before it fully sets. If decorating with fondant shapes (flowers, hearts of any colours) they can be attached with a little brush of water or royal icing.
To serve, place the petits fours in paper liners and store, covered – do not refrigerate. They will keep for up to 3 days.
*available at health food or Asian food stores
TIP! This cake recipe is ideally suited to petits fours of this style, covered with a poured fondant glaze – the cake cut into clean shapes with no crumbs to create rough edges or to drop into the fondant.
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